Brands that publish relevant content on the right platform will own the future of advertising. Brands that fail to be relevant will be blocked by consumers. That’s a major take-away from the 2017 edition of the annual Internet Trends Report. The 344- page report, published May 31 by analyst Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, is a bellwether thought bomb with lessons for all businesses, including auto dealerships and OEMs.
The report covers topics ranging from the rise of interactive gaming to the impact of cloud computing. A section that really resonates for us concerns online advertising and commerce (starting on Slide 10 here). Meeker makes several striking observations, such as:
- There is a disparity between mobile advertising and consumer behavior
Citing research from the Internet Advertising Bureau, Meeker notes that mobile ads account for the majority of digital ad spend. And the growth of mobile is outpacing desktop advertising:
And yet, the percentage of advertising spent on mobile is still much smaller than the amount of time your customers spend on mobile. Consumers spend 28 percent of their time on mobile while advertisers devote 21 percent of their budgets on mobile:
In our experience, mobile is an especially valuable platform for reaching in-market shoppers. Our own research shows that consumers on the Cars.com mobile site are ready to buy a car in 40 days or less. Mobile is where the action is. How are you investing your dollars?
- Content + Data = Relevance
According to the report, ads are “becoming targeted storefronts” – a powerful way to describe the convergence between advertising, content, and data:
Empowered by mobile, consumers are accelerating the customer journey dramatically. Consumers can discover, research, and purchase a product from their mobile phones because smart phones give them the ability to research and click in one place, often in one app. That behavior includes the experience on Cars.com, which acts as a complete discovery platform that drives sales.
Especially because consumers can make split-second decisions on their phones about which dealer they want to visit, it’s essential that dealers create the right content for the right consumer. Here is where data-driven insight comes into play. Only advertising platforms that deliver targeted audiences will win in a world where ads are becoming targeted storefronts. Delivering targeted audiences means having access to data about audiences – who they are and they behave. Data-driven sites like Cars.com hold an advantage.
- Be Relevant or Be Blocked
Users have the power, platforms, and tools to block interruptions. Brands should work with innovative partners that provide a trusted, brand safe interaction with the consumers, as well as front-end and back-end measurement that track modern/mobile-first KPIs.
Meeker’s observations were underscored at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference when Apple announced June 5 that the Apple Safari Web browser will block auto-playing video ads from some websites and curtail ad retargeting. This development is interesting because one of the world’s most influential brands is empowering consumers to avoid unwanted content from brands themselves.
All advertisers, including dealers, live in a world where consumers are getting savvier about ignoring brands that fail the test of relevancy. Consumers don’t mind ads if they seem relevant, either because the content is engaging or it’s contextual to the consumer’s circumstance (e.g., the time of day a person looks at an ad, their location, etc.). As noted, being relevant means using data to target the right content to the right person, and relevance is what Cars.com provides our advertisers.
Be mobile. Be relevant. Or be blocked. Talk with Cars.com to learn more about growing your business.
 TheStreet.com, “This Is Why Cars.com Really Wants More Tesla on Its Platform,” June 5, 2017